In news from the “research catching up to lived, autistic experience” department: yes, eye contact does, in fact, actually fuck us up.
An eyetracking analysis revealed that cross-modal coordination of speech production and facial expression was greater when the neurotypical child spent more time looking at the face, but weaker when the autistic child spent more time looking at the face. In sum, social communication difficulties in autism spectrum disorder may involve deficits in cross-modal coordination. This finding may inform how autistic individuals are perceived in their daily conversations.
The inevitable response from the treatment community will be to double-down on pushing us to just get used to making eye contact.